Dementia isn’t a specific disease, rather a general term that is used to describe a decline in mental ability that is so severe that it interferes with your everyday activities. It can describe a wide range of symptoms, including:
- Impaired memory
- Difficulty with naming or word finding difficulties
- Reduced ability to focus and pay attention
- Decreased reasoning and judgment
- Visual perception problems
- Difficulty carrying out complex tasks
Dementia can affect an individual’s ability to: keep track of finances and paying bills, drive, plan and cook meals and remember appointments.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Early symptoms include difficulty with naming objects, lack of initiative and difficulty remembering recent conversations, names or events.
As the disease progresses, Alzheimer’s patients experience worsening memory loss, impaired communication, poor judgment, confusion and behavioral changes. Alzheimer’s patient’s will have difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking during the end stage.
When Should Someone be Evaluated for Dementia?
Most dementias are progressive, so the symptoms will start off slowly and gradually worsen. Any memory difficulties or changes in thinking skills should not be ignored. Apex Neuropsychology Center conducts evaluations to diagnose dementia and determine the possible cause of memory issues. They also offer recommendations for treatment of the cognitive difficulties.
Even if the symptoms point to dementia, an early diagnosis ensures the patient can get the most benefit from available treatments. It also gives the patient and their family more time to plan for the future.